Quarter of Clinton supporters would vote McCain over Obama

A survey by the Pew Research Center shows that, if their candidate were not the nominee, more Clinton voters than Obama voters would defect, and the Clinton campaign trumpets the results.

Published March 4, 2008 12:06AM (EST)

Interesting result from a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: If their favored candidate is not the Democratic nominee, a quarter of Hillary Clinton's primary supporters would defect and vote for John McCain in November, while only 10 percent of Barack Obama's supporters would do the same.

This discrepancy seems to be explained by Pew's demographic breakdown of the potential defectors, as the groups most likely to jump are also Clinton's bases of support: "One-in-five white Democrats (20%) say that they will vote for McCain over Obama, double the percentage who say they would switch sides in a Clinton-McCain matchup (10%). Roughly the same number of Democrats age 65 and older say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the party's choice (22%). Obama also suffers more defections among lower income and less educated Democratic voters than does Clinton."

Here's another interesting thing -- the Clinton campaign is promoting this stat, both in an e-mail from spokesman Phil Singer and in an item on its "Delegate Hub" Web site.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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